The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .

These are the LETTERS OF MY THOUGHTS.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New York, Do You Love Your Jews?


I've written about Hollywood's portrayal of Orthodox Jews in the past.
With the film New York, I Love You coming out, people seem to be interested in Natalie Portman's portrayal of a chassidic woman.
While if anyone can pull off a relatively inoffensive and accurate portrayal of a Satmar meidel it would be Natalie (a friend of mine was actually an extra during the principal photography, and told me he spoke briefly to Ms. Portman about her experiences with Chabad), I find the trailer rather interesting.
For it would seem that even while portraying religious Jews in a film, they aren't interesting enough to be heard. For while the Jewish story is an eleventh of the film, no dialog is used from it. We make for good images in passing, but can't have depth.
Sigh.


Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

16 comments:

Nemo said...

How do you make judgments based on two minute trailers?

Nemo said...

I promise you that they're not paying Natalie Portman's salary without getting some dialogue.

Mottel said...

Wow, c'flaim l'toshia!
I haven't seen the film, and remain optimistic that the portrayal will be done well - hence my comment that if anyone can do it, Portman can.
My complaint is solely about the trailer i.e. I'm reviewing the trailer itself. In the trailer, the Hassidic story has been portrayed solely as a group of faces in the crowd, with no interest placed in them outside the exotic look they add.
Re:Salary - being familiar with industry I can tell you that actors will often have all but a few lines of dialogue cut out of the final print - despite the money they've been given (not that that's the case here - but it can happen)

Cheerio said...

esp. in an artsy ensemble film like this one.
i've been intrigued in this film ever since reading about the chassidic dude who was going to play np's husband... until his community ostracized him.
and nu, what were her experiences with chabad?

Mottel said...

-Cheerio: The vignette looks interesting. When it shows up online, i'll check it out.
From what I heard she mentioned her experience with Chabad from campus, and I believe she said that the guy she acted with invited her for a shabbos. Funny, in Satmar the vilified him, in Chabad we'd have given him a medal. I don't think either way is right.

Yossi said...

did it really say that about 10 people were the directors and writers?

Yossi said...

and hey, just realized I could comment....
thanks for getting back to basics on the comment publishing thing

Mottel said...

-Yossi: yes, it's a series of vignettes, each one directed by someone else . . . and yes, old comments are back!

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

about time. THanks

Yossi said...

two questions.
Did portman write the story that she's in?
and also, why do you say that it isn't right for that guy to invite her for shabbos? you mean how you can't invite somebody knowing he'll drive?

Chaviva said...

I wish this was here in CT somewhere so I could see it ... CURSES!

mhz said...

Much as I'd love to have a well portrayed Chabadnik in a movie, it's a tough thing to ask for. As a rule, movies do not waste time with character development of extras. Stereotypes are crude, but they work.

Going back to your old, linked, post, I see you mention a movie I've never seen. A quick glance at the summary says that yibum was used as a plot device for convenience. They really didn't care about accuracy.

I'd see more of your point if you had a proper film [which isn't using this rarely-seen bit of Judaism as a gimmick] where there was a fully frum character that still had to be a caricature. This movie is more like that, in that it's a primary character, and is not in it for comedic effect (those are two separate things).

Mottel said...

I'm bringing in a cut and paste from a comments traded between Seth Menachem and myself on Facebook.

Seth Menachem said...

I saw the movie, Mordechai. Just because no dialogue made the trailer doesn't imply Jewish themes are being suppressed. It simple didn't work in the trailer.

Mottel said...

Please tell me what it's about. My blog post was written rather quickly, and isn't all to clear. I never doubted the actual portrayal in the movie. I just feel that the almost total lack of reference to the vignette in the trailer . . . it gives the overall feeling of use the chassidic Jews a backdrop. This is nothing no - We Jews in Hollywood have very often used our religious brethren as a shallow site gag on one level or another (if not for humor, then for the cut-out characters) Look at Woody Allen's for example . . . Read the link to my previous post for greater discussion on the subject.

Seth Menachem said...

Well, Woody Allen makes his views on religion pretty clear. And the "site gag" in Annie Hall was pretty well done, as it was how her anti-semitic aunt viewed him. The short in New York, I Love You was okay - not great. I might be screwing up details but what I remember is Natalie Portman's character and an Indian diamond dealer (both great actors) love each other (it was a little odd to me b/c he seems so much older and it brought up other issues) and she was about to be married. They don't ever act on their love but you get the feeling that the diamond dealer and the Hasidic girl are both living their lives for religious expectations and therefore denying themselves of what's really important to them - their love for each other.